Sunday, January 17, 2010

A touching poem to share...

At the Vet's
by Maura Stanton

The German shepherd can't lift his hindquarters
off the tiled floor. His middle-aged owner
heaves his dog over his shoulder, and soon
two sad voices drift from the exam room
discussing heart failure, kidneys, and old age
while a rushing woman pants into the office
grasping a terrier with trembling legs
she found abandoned in a drainage ditch.
It's been abused, she says, and sits down,
The terrier curled in her lap, quaking
as the memory of something bad returns and returns.
She strokes its ears, whispering endearments
while my two cats, here for routine checkups,
peer through the mesh of their old green carrier,
the smell of fear so strong on their damp fur
I taste it as I breathe. Soon the woman,
Like the receptionist with her pen in mid-air,
Is listening, too, hushed by the duet
swelling in volume now, the vet's soprano
counterpointed by the owner's baritone
as he pleads with her to give him hope, the vet
trying to be kind, rephrasing the truth
over and over until it becomes a lie
they both pretend to accept. The act's over.
His dog's to stay behind for ultrasound
and kidney tests, and the man, his face
whipped by grief as if he were caught in a wind,
hurries past us and out the front door,
leaving the audience—cats, terrier, people—
sunk in their places, too stunned to applaud.

"At the Vet's" by Maura Stanton, from Immortal Sofa. © University of Illinois Press, 2008. Reprinted with permission by The Writer's Almanac, January 16, 2010.

Thursday, January 7, 2010

Snow......a New Year, a New Decade, a Winter Wedding.....and more snow.

Well, it's winter so I guess we should expect some snow. However, it has been snowing here nonstop since New Year's Eve, 7 days straight now with no end in sight. Another 8" is predicted for tonight with blizzard-like conditions to follow bringing gale-force winds and downright dangerously cold temperatures.

This poor young redtail hawk has been hunting small songbirds at our feeders from a perch in the locust tree in our front yard. The wind and cold are so severe and the snow so deep that there is no small game to be seen, and the hawk is hungry. It's easy to see why people and animals become distressed and depressed in winter.Our back fences are almost buried under 3' drifts! The poor birds puff up for warmth awaiting their turn at the bird feeders, which we keep constantly filled for them.

We always look forward to winter as a time to pursue pleasurable, mostly indoor activities like reading seed catalogs, novels, that stack of magazines piling up since last summer, watching movies and cooking great meals. Outdoor activities include shoveling snow, blowing snow, hauling in firewood, hauling out the furnace ashes, sweeping the snow off the solar panels, walks in the snow, bundling up just to go out to the mailbox, and occasionally, if the snow is just right and the wind isn't blowing too hard, some cross country skiing just to get the blood moving! Simple trips to the grocery store are combined with quick errands and always dinner at a restaurant, because one never knows when the next weather window of opportunity to escape the confines of the farm will present itself - smile!
The lake lies encased in thick ice and the gazebo slumbers under a blanket of white. I took this picture before New Year's when we could still walk down the hill to the lake. Now the snow is too deep for walking.Art clears snow from the driveway - a daily chore. Mimi and Mo have a blast as they romp in snow that is over their heads! However, this does not affect their exuberance as they blow off steam and enjoy each others' company!

Art was honored to preside over the marriage of our friends Jon Kates and Peggie Page on the first Saturday of the New Year and New Decade of 2010. The ceremony was held in Pittsburgh at the William Penn Hotel on January 2nd.

Peggie's daughter Sarah attended her mother as matron of honor and Jon's son Sam performed admirably as best man! It was such a joyous occasion, a celebration in toasts, song and well-wishes to the love and married life of a beautiful couple.

Well, another foot of snow has fallen since the night of the Kates wedding. We loaded another half-cord of wood into the basement yesterday and made a grocery run last evening......even grabbed a bite at the Italian Oven before scurrying back to the warmth and safety of home. I thought I'd do some blog posting today just to let the world know we're still here and thinking about you all. Here's a visual gift to enjoy.......what could better signify the promise and beauty of Spring?